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Need to Know: Numbers game on Redskins O-line is taking shape

Aug 24, 2016, 5:28 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 25, 10 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.


Today’s schedule: Practice 11:55; Player availability and Jay Gruden and Sean McVay press conferences after practice, approx. 1:30

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 227 days ago. It will be 19 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 25; Browns @ Redskins 39; Redskins @ Ravens 46

Numbers game on O-line taking shape

Along the with the rest of the NFL, the Redskins have about a week and a half to get their roster cut down to 53 players. One of the areas where the number of players can vary greatly is on the offensive line.

In recent years the Redskins have carried as few as eight offensive linemen on the final 53 and as many as 10. How many will they carry this year? Let’s take a look at the possibilities.

There are seven locks to make it. Four starters are set with LT Trent Williams, C Kory Lichtensteiger, RG Brandon Scherff, and RT Morgan Moses. Two players, Spencer Long and Shawn Lauvao, are competing for the starting left guard spot. One will start, the other will be on the roster as a reserve. Ty Nsekhe is the top reserve tackle.

Beyond that group it gets tricky. They could keep 10 on the roster and choose three from the following group:

—T Takoby Cofield, who has been promising at times in the preseason but who also has had his share of struggles. Jay Gruden said that he has played every line position except center and that could mean he’s being groomed for a utility role.

G Arie Kouandjio was a fourth-round pick last year. He was kept on the 53 as a rookie even though he didn’t play. Although the coaches like his tough mindset he doesn’t seem to have progressed much in the last year.

C/G Josh LeRibeus played center last year when Lichtensteiger was out with an injury. He still has problems with shotgun snaps.

C Austin Reiter is a dark horse to make it. He was a seventh-round pick in 2015 and he has rarely worked with any group above the third team.

The factor that could put a crimp in the hopes of LeRibeus and/or Reiter to make the 53 is the fact that Long has been working at the center position ever since OTAs. Should Lichtensteiger go out it looks like Long would be the first choice to replace him. If Long wins the left guard position then he would move over and Lauvao would slide in at left guard.

There usually are one or two spots reserved for developmental players like Kouandjio last year and Long and Moses the year before. But by the second year the team was comfortable starting the latter pair of players. Would they be good with Kouandjio starting a game this year if needed? If not, how long will they give him to develop?

Cofield was an undrafted free agent and he spent his rookie 2015 season on the practice squad. Will they be OK with having Nsekhe as the only backup tackle on the roster? Perhaps in an emergency Scherff could move out to tackle but that is not something they would want to do in the long term or even for more than a game or two.

Of course the offensive line numbers are not created in a vacuum. Other needs on offense will affect how many linemen they keep. They may want to keep four running backs, four tight ends, and three quarterbacks. That would make it hard to carry 10 on the line.

The way things are shaping up now it looks like they will keep Cofield or Kouandjio as the eighth lineman and keep the other one if they go with nine. Since keeping 10 seems very unlikely LeRibeus and Reiter are probably on the outside looking in.

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  1. redskins12thman - Aug 24, 2016 at 7:44 AM

    The Redskins should take only 8 O-linemen.

    The ability of Nysekhe (both tackle spots) and Long (guard and center) to play multiple position facilitates taking just 8. I think the 8th spot will go to Arie but I am surprised he has not made more progress. Cofield and Reiter can be on the practice squad.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 24, 2016 at 7:55 AM

      Looks like he’s been unable to overcome the ‘weaknesses’ section.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 24, 2016 at 1:56 PM

      It’s risky to only have one backup tackle. I just don’t see why we need to keep Reiter around. Maybe he’s improving, but that’s not a very high bar. His starting point was low.

      But if we’re going to keep 3 QBs, 7 DL, and 6CBs then something has to give. I don’t like the idea of only carrying 3 TEs and cutting Paulsen. We don’t have anyone else like him on the team and we’re not carrying a FB, aka only 3 RBs, so the TEs have to help there. So maybe rolling with just 8 OLine isn’t a bad idea. But one of those jobs shouldn’t go to the fourth center. That’s for damn sure.

  2. blazerguy234 - Aug 24, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    Josh L. and Arie should not make the 53…Josh has had three years to really show something at any line position, and if Arie has shown little improvement since last year…move on, and work with other new linemen.
    Matt Jones is the starting back..yet he did little last year, and in his limited time this year has not exactly flashed.
    He is injury prone, and I would try to keep Marshall and Kelly, and of course Thompson.
    The back has to have the vision to see a hole, but the line must block well enough to create one.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 24, 2016 at 11:54 AM

      Wait, are you arguing that they should cut Jones and keep Marshall and Kelley instead? Or are you arguing that they should keep four RBs? Because they’re probably only keeping 3. And Marshall is just as injury prone, probably more so, than Jones. And Marshall hasnt flashed anything so far. Jones looks like he can be a halfway decent back if he can stay on the field.

  3. bangkokben - Aug 24, 2016 at 9:55 AM

    I say they keep Kouandjio and Reiter. Arie because you usually don’t give up on 4th round draft picks after a year and Reiter because he’s actually improving. Although with Lichtensteiger and Long clearly ahead of him it doesn’t make much sense other than the fear his tape is going to make him desired by other teams. (The Nate Sudfeld argument.) Cofield can get stashed on the practice squad and hopefully there isn’t a need to bring him up. I have as much faith that both Lauvaou and Lichtensteiger make it through the season unscathed as much as Tony Romo will play all 16 games. I just don’t see it happening barring the miraculous and as much as Long is a “fan favorite,” he can’t play both positions at the same time.

    As for Sudfeld, the fear is the Redskins will lose him to someone else’s practice squad. Not that he would actually clear waivers. Once cut, he can sign with whichever practice squad gives him the best offer — not necessarily monetarily but close to home, chance to actually get called up, etc. Bottom line, this team needs nine OL more than it needs four running backs or three quarterbacks.

    • chimps000 - Aug 24, 2016 at 10:09 AM

      agree that josh and arie should be cut- but scott seems to be showing a lot of special loyalty to his draft picks like 3rd rounder matt jones, seeing as how he brought in zero legit competition for the position.

      Not sure about Marshall, everything I’ve heard says the guy is not NFL caliber, he was a 7th rounder no big deal.

      I’m fine with trading a lower round pick for a guy like charcandrick west who has proven he can play- ppl seem to love the Pierre Thomas idea but let’s get real he’s a stopgap at best without game breaking ability.

      • redskins12thman - Aug 24, 2016 at 10:59 AM

        I don’t see why we should give up a draft pick when 3-5 solid RB candidates will be available in ten days at no cost.

        We also passed on Reggie Bush and Arian Foster at no cost presumably because we felt there are comparable (or better) players who are younger.

        • chimps000 - Aug 24, 2016 at 11:12 AM

          not to single out scott, but when you look at his lower
          round draft picks from last year (4th round and lower) the majority haven’t worked out. GMs love draft
          picks partly because when you hit you get phenomenal value in terms of rookie wage scale- my point is skins have the cash to pay a proven not over the hill guy like charcandrick west and he would certainly be worth a 5th or lower.

          You are probably right that there is a guy who will
          be on the waiver wire and will produce- if that’s the direction we go, we better hit on that guy, as it’s hard to see the man crowned and appointed to be the starter playing a full season, and while I’m a big chris Thompson fan he has had injury issues himself.

          To be fair, maybe kelly can fill
          the role, and the answer is already on the roster.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 24, 2016 at 12:02 PM

          The majority of late round draft picks don’t work out for any team. But Crowder did just fine for us and he didn’t have a fourth this year so maybe we should start at the 5th and down. It’s also not fair to make a statement like that after one year. Draft picks, especially the late picks, aren’t meant to be immediate helpers. They take time to develop. They shouldn’t be labeled hits or misses until a couple years.

          But I agree that a RB like West is worth a late pick. The other guys will be getting cut for a reason. West might be available because KC has 4 good-respectable RBs. Let’s find someone who can actually play and solve this problem for a coulee seasons.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 24, 2016 at 2:02 PM

          There’s a lot more to why we passed on Reggie Bush and Arian Foster. The biggest reason being they’re both coming off a serious season-ending injury and both have extensive injury histories. They’re also getting old.

          As crazy as it is to go into the season with Jones, Thompson, and Marshall as the RBs (3 guys who have had extensive injury histories) it would be even crazier to add an old guy with an extensive injury history. Then there’s the whole thing about how much money they want.

          We didn’t just pass on Foster because we believe someone better will get cut from a team. Believe me, nobody who doesn’t make the 53 is a better RB than Arian Foster. We’re talking about the cast offs nobody else wants. They could be serviceable. Maybe good enough to get us through the season. But they’re not long term answers. But you might be able to find a good RB via trade. Maybe. It’s worth looking into.

    • chimps000 - Aug 24, 2016 at 10:12 AM

      the post was supposed to be a reply to blazer guy….

      anyways I agree on keeping 9 olinemen vs 3 qbs- fans often lose perspective on how many developmental qbs are around the league- every team has a guy like sudfield they hope can someday play- I’m not worried about him being signed onto an active roster, although I don’t know the odds he would sign with a different teams practice squad that doesn’t make a ton of sense to me as the organization already has some loyalty towards him by selecting him in the draft- but that’s just my speculation.

  4. abanig - Aug 24, 2016 at 11:24 AM

    I get this feeling that both Kouandijo and Reiter are both going to make the roster. McCloughan drafted both of them as developmental guys and at worst future top reserves at C & G.

    Kouandijo has also been working some at LT with either the 2nd or 3rd team, can’t remember which Rich said and Mike Jones has said but he has been doing some work there.

    I find it highly unlikely they only keep 8 OL, IMO that’s always a recipe for disaster.

    I think Cofield is the odd man out here because Nsekhe can play either OT position and Kouandijo has been working some at OT.

    • ET - Aug 24, 2016 at 1:22 PM

      Cofield’s best advantage seems to be positional flexibility. I’m guessing he’s headed for the practice squad again, however. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Arie at the bottom of the 53, mostly inactive on game day. Reiter is the biggest unknown, I think. The coaches seem intrigued by his potential (given the current options), but it’s not clear (to me, at least) that there’s a spot for him on the roster. Not sure if he can sneak through to the practice squad or not.

      At any rate, I’m hoping this is the year we can finally say goodbye to the underachieving LeRibeus.

      • abanig - Aug 24, 2016 at 9:28 PM

        I’m fairly certain that Reiter can won’t be picked up on waivers should we cut him and then we can sign him to the practice squad.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 25, 2016 at 1:35 PM

          I agree

  5. smotion55 - Aug 24, 2016 at 12:10 PM

    LeRibeus signed a 1 year extension and will have 80,000 dead money hit. Please take the hit . He had weight problems got lazy in the past and isn’t much better in 4 years. I would keep Reiter and Kouandjio for another year and just maybe they trade or pick up somebody for a 9th roster spot after the final cut down

  6. chimps000 - Aug 24, 2016 at 12:44 PM

    to trey Gregory- you say the majority of late round picks don’t work out- that’s why I said “not
    to single out scott” and it’s also the rationale for getting a proven RB in a trade with a lower round pick, which we agree on if it’s possible.

    Whether or not it’s fair to judge Scott’s late round picks, by which I mean 4th round and lower, seeing as how many aren’t with the team we can get an early evaluation on them. Again, I don’t disagree that lower rounds, hell even higher rounds, are a bit of a crap shoot.

    crowder in 4th hit

    arie kounjo 4th round might get cut hasnt shown much in camp

    martell spaight 5th round fighting to make team on a team with average at best LBs

    kyshoen jarrett 6th round was a hit played well no ones fault his career possibly over

    tevin mitchell 6th round cb not on team

    evan spencer 6th round wr not on team

    austin reiter 7th rd center probably gets cut

    that’s two hits out of 7 picks- I’ll say possibly 3 hits to keep
    the door open on spaight. I’m sure most teams have a similar success rate on low rounders.

    Real eval of Scott’s draft and other teams drafts are the first three rounds, and the jury is out on the 5th overall draft pick who looks a bit like “just a guy”, Preston smith looks like a hit, and matt jones will have this season to show us if he was a good pick or not, if he can stay healthy. On those three I definitely agree we need a few seasons for a real evaluation… I’m just not drinking the “in scott we trust” kool aid at this time. I would like to drink it, but it’s going to take more
    time and proven hits.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 24, 2016 at 1:46 PM

      But you did single him out. That’s like saying, “I don’t want to insult you but you’re a stupid jerk.” Conflicting messages. If most late round picks don’t work out then what’s the point in saying most of Scot McCloughan’s late round picks don’t work out? Just say a late round pick isn’t that valuable because those players usually don’t work out so we should trade one for a decent RB.

      So to go down your list: (and please keep in mind that I can’t stand the McCloughan worship and I’m the biggest Scrooge toward late round guys you’ll ever meet)

      Crowder: finding a quality year-one starter in the 4th round is more than a hit. It’s a home run.

      Kouandjo is going to the practice squad at worst. He hasn’t looked good and I think he was over drafted but they’re not outright cutting a 2015 4th round pick.

      Spaight was out all last year with a concussion and now looks like he could start, and play well. He’s not fighting to make the team. He’s as much a lock as you can get. Just so happens Compton is ahead of him and the coaches believe Compton is above average. Playing Mike LB is as much about experience to get everyone set correctly as much as your personal ability. Spaight hasn’t even played a real game yet. He’s not ready to be the QB of the defense but he looks shockingly good.

      Jarrett looked to be a 6th round starter. That’s a grand slam. Not his or Scot’s fault he’s not on the team anymore. He was a truly amazing 6th round pick. It will probably be a long time before you see another 6th round draft pick with that much potential in Washington.

      Mitchell was injured and stolen off waivers. Obviously you’re doing something right if a team is going to snatch your late round guy and stash him on their IR all season. That was highly unusual.

      Spencer was drafted for his physical attributes. That’s what 6th round picks are for. Find guys with something that stands out and see if you can develop it. Most 6th round guys don’t see the field.

      Reiter: it’s amazing he’s even competing for a roster spot. Seriously. They could get rid of the 7th round and nobody would care.

      So I get not wanting to drink the McCloughan Kool Aid. I’m with you. But I think your definition of a hit or a miss is a little unreasonable. If you find a quality depth guy in the 5th, that’s a hit. Guys don’t have to be pro bowlers to be hits. Finding someone who stays on the 53 after 2-3 seasons in the 6th-7th round is a hit. That’s why I brought up the rest of the league. Because McCloughan’s 2015 class was actually far better than the league average. But that doesn’t mean you should expect it every year and call it a failure if it doesn’t happen. And Scherff and Smith are hits. Smith had make sacks than rushers drafted in the top 10. That’s a really good second round pick. And, it’s too early to say this for sure, but I believe Doctson and Cravens are really good hits. These guys are special. I’m a little more iffy on Fuller.

      • chimps000 - Aug 24, 2016 at 2:02 PM

        “but you did single him out”

        we are talking about a single team, the redskins, so yes in that sense he was singled out- the context was clearly that lower round picks often don’t contribute- that’s league wide and obvious.

        Spaight could be a great depth signing, we don’t know, the jury is out on him.

        I’m not as sold as you on the 5th overall pick of
        the draft and the most important pick of his tenure, but the guy is young and can certainly improve.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 24, 2016 at 2:06 PM

          I somehow misread that “5th overall pick is just a guy” part. I thought you said 5th round pick.

          So, you’re entitled to your opinion and I’ll respect that. But can you please share why you think Scherff looks like “just a guy?” Or why you think the jury is still out (which is true of every first round pick from last year, but we know what we mean)? What is he not doing that you want to see? Or what is he doing that you don’t want to see anymore?

      • ET - Aug 24, 2016 at 2:23 PM

        ” Spaight hasn’t even played a real game yet. He’s not ready to be the QB of the defense but he looks shockingly good.”

        To amplify that a little, Spaight looks shockingly good on the field AND he looks like he has the football IQ and recognition skills to become a solid Mike ‘backer. Riley and Robinson, while physically blessed, never showed the mental aptitude for the position that Compton and Spaight possess. Like Jarrett, a helluva find.

  7. redskins12thman - Aug 24, 2016 at 3:37 PM

    Stork is now an option on the O-line.

  8. chimps000 - Aug 24, 2016 at 4:25 PM

    to trey Gregory- On sherff, I didn’t watch him on the all 22 film, only on the tv feed, so obviously that has major limitations. I focused on his play last year, and he seemed like a serviceable average NFL guard- he gets beat, and he also looks decent at times especially when he is on a double team. Cooleys analysis also echoes what my eyes have shown me- he just isn’t very impactful at the position to this point in his young career.

    Obviously he can improve – the question is all about his ceiling. Some scouting reports on him coming out of the draft thought he was already close to his ceiling- obviously scott thought he had more upside than that. My point is for the 5th overall pick in the draft I have higher expectations than an average middle of the road NFL guard. If he had been picked in the second round, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    on a different note, I love the stork signing.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 24, 2016 at 4:37 PM

      I’m just baffled at this GM’s actions. We can’t sign Nelson to help at safety because he’s too old but we can sign Davis? We can’t give Cousins a market value deal after just one good season but Norman gets the richest CB deal in history after just one good season. We don’t use free agency or the draft to get a legit RB or DT option for 2016, even though some REALLY good prospect were available in the 4th, but we will sign Stork. When has a trade with Bellichick ever not worked out great for the Pats and been a pitfall for the other side? Seriously. Bellichick is a master of getting rid of players not worth a damn.

      If you and other fans are happy then I’m happy for you. But I’m highly skeptical of this. The guy already has an injury prone label and is apparently a locker room distraction.

      I’ll have to get back to you on Scherff. I’m working just wanted to take a quick break and vent. I guess this does mean we can probably dump some dead weight from the roster though. Reiter has no business on the 53 and maybe LeRibus will be gone if both Long and Lauvau are just considered guards.

      • redskins12thman - Aug 24, 2016 at 5:52 PM

        I think this was a low risk trade for 7th round pick. Stork has battled concussions and some “hot head” penalties and that may continue, but he’s only 25 years old and can play anywhere along the line. With the versatility of Nsekhe, Long and Stork, the Redskins can carry just 8 offensive lineman and use that other roster spot for positions in need. Moreover, he can help push the ones and may even be enough of an upgrade to start on the team. We have not seen any more development from Arie; what’s there to lose?

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 24, 2016 at 6:04 PM

          It’s a conditional 7th.

          And yeah, it will be great if it works out. But I’m not holding my breath. Even if the guy doesn’t retire. He’s 25, a fourth round pick, and Bellichick was going to CUT him. Something is wrong with him. You don’t invite poison into your locker room. That’s what we have to lose. That kind of stuff is more important than some people think.

        • redskins12thman - Aug 24, 2016 at 7:02 PM

          I’ve not heard anything about him being a locker room issue although he’s not always into interacting with the media.

          The offensive linemen on Redskins roster beyond the first 7 have been given ample opportunity to take a LG starting spot or any 2nd string spot and none of them have delivered.

          If Callahan is willing to give this guy a shot for a conditional 7th round pick, I’m okay with it.

          I was surprised that Redskins did not bring in UCFA centers to camp such as Jack Allen and Matt Skura. I believe Allen is back-up center for Saints right now.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 25, 2016 at 2:42 AM

          I can’t tell you why they didn’t bring in any undrafted centers other than either they didn’t think they would be better that what we have or those centers didn’t want to come. Reality of going undrafted is you get to pick where you want to go if you receive multiple offers. I would imagined at least Allen had multiple offers.

          I’m being a little dramatic about this whole thing. There’s not much rick is leveraging a conditional 7th for a young center who could start for us and has started on a super bowl winning team. I’m just saying, Bellichick didn’t release a young 4th round draft pick for no reason. Their line was AWFUL last year and they need all the help they can get. There’s more to this story than we know. I would think that eventually teams would learn not to trad (players) with Bellichick because he always seems to get the better end of the deal. He knows when guys are done and who he can whip into shape.

          That being said, he was going to outright cut this guy. Bellichick wasn’t looking for the trade. And McCloughan made a move to ensure we didn’t lose him on waivers. I’m fine with that. This is better than almost any 7th round pick you’ll ever see. I’m just highly skeptical it works out. Assuming he doesn’t retire tomorrow. But this is exactly what I want McCloughan to do with a RB. Find a guy you like who is likely to get cut or a team is likely to release for cheap and make a trade to ensure we land him. It’s nice to know McCloughan sees that line of thinking as an option.

      • chimps000 - Aug 25, 2016 at 4:44 AM

        I agree with 12thman- guy has proven he can play, he’s young, he’s versatile. He may not work out, but that’s what a 7th round pick is for. The guy just had a concussion, so hopefully he can rest up on the bench and be available if needed down the road.

        I thought the Vernon Davis signing was questionable- I watched him lose 2 steps in San Fran over the last two years of his career, get traded to the Broncos and do absolutely nothing. My cynical speculation was he was one of “Scott’s guys” but I hope I am wrong and maybe he will look rejuvenated this year with competent QB play.

        According to Cooley, the GM and coach wanted to sign cousins long term, but Bruce wanted one more year on a show me deal. I like cousins and would have been fine with a long term signing, but I can see Bruce’s point of view (if that really is his pov.) The thing is that cousins is set to have huge numbers this year- decent pass blocking oline, great skill position weapons, bad run game, below average defense. And Scott drafted a potential red zone weapon in the first round who should help cousins at some point this year.

  9. redskins12thman - Aug 25, 2016 at 12:23 AM

    Bishop Sankey and Ronnie Hillman are two RBs that are projected to be released as part of roster cuts. Are there any other projected waived RBs that the Redskins should consider adding to the roster depending on how rookies perform against the Bills and Buccaneers?

    • redskins12thman - Aug 25, 2016 at 12:49 AM

      Seattle and likely Jacksonville are going to release someone talented (if unproven) RBs. I just don’t know who yet — Troymaine Pope, Zac Brooks, Corey Grant, Joe Banyard and Cameron Mitchell?

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 25, 2016 at 3:10 AM

      Cobb and Antonio Andrews are others from Tennessee to keep an eye on. Bilall Powell is….eh… an option. The Jets also have Khiry Robinson. I would love to see McCloughan call San Diego and see if they’re willing to part with Charles Oliver for a conditional 6th or something. Same with KC and either West or Davis. I believe Donald Brown is available now. The rest of these guys could get cut. It mostly depends on if the team keeps 3 or 4 RBs (including FBs as the 4th) if it’s only 3, there’s a good chance they’re cut.

      Storm Johnson flashed a little last year and is likely get cut in Tampa.

      Corey Grant in Jacksonville. But I’ll tell you, I would try to trade for Denard Robinson too. Another late conditional pick but he has talent and they have a stable of RBs. They might be willing to let shoestring go.

      Bobby Rainey will probably get cut from the Giants. He’s had his moments.

      Isiah Pead is in Miami and looks like he could get cut.

      I believe Bryce Brown is currently a freje agent.

      Either Terrance West or Kennith Dixon could get cut from the Ravens.

      Travarius Cadet might be the odd man out in New Orleans.

      Call me crazy but Helu is a free agent.

      Kenny Hilliard from the Texans, maybe.

      You can see the better guys are going to require a trade. But something like a 6th is a small price to pay for a real upgrade or even just dependability in the durability department. I’m sure there’s a few more I missed. There’s options for sure.

      • redskins12thman - Aug 25, 2016 at 2:03 PM

        Do you have top three wish list from RBs that are expected to be available on either the 1st or 2nd roster cutdown?

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 25, 2016 at 2:33 PM

          Ha. Ehhh. It’s kind of slim pickings hu? I prefer a trade for Davis, West, Oliver, Khiry Robsonson (if he’s not cut) or even James Starks (JP Finlay said he thinks GB might part with him but I can’t see why they would.) but of the guys I listed who may get cut… If Hillman is cut we should pounce. Sankey was drafted so high because he has physical talent so he might be worth a retread. It’s hard for me to say because I haven’t watched some of these guys play in forever. I was just listing names of guys who have had at least an ounce of success before. I guess Hillman is my answer. Archives

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